Wood deck maintenance is important to the life span of any deck. Proper cleaning and staining are necessary on a regular basis to protect the deck from the harsh environment. Prior staining the surface needs a good cleaning. A clean surface will ensure proper adhesion and stain penetration. Cleaning a wood surface prior to staining will also enhance the beauty of the wood and give you a better end result.
There are several necessary steps in the wood cleaning process to prepare the surface for a new coat of stain. The first step is to clean the wood with a quality wood cleaner to remove all the dirt, grime, mold, mildew, graying, and mill glaze. The aid of a deck cleaner will help breakup and remove these contaminants that may prevent the new stain from performing.
Most all quality deck cleaners contain caustic soaps that make cleaning a deck both easier and more effective. The downside to a caustic cleaner is that is raises the pH level of the wood and makes it appear very dark in color. Let’s explore some reasons why this is not ideal if not dealt with and how using a deck brightener can restore the wood.
- Deck stains adhere and penetrate wood better that is more acidic. So when the wood is left with a high pH balance the stain will not penetrate or perform as well as it should. This jeopardizes the longevity of the stain causing more frequent maintenance and costing you more money.
- The increased pH level also darkens the wood which can affect the overall appearance of the deck even after it is stained.
The way this phenomenon is reversed is to simply apply a neutralizing acid to the wood after cleaning it. This mild acid formula known as deck brightener or deck neutralizer cancels the condition of the caustic soaps and restores the wood’s pH balance to a more neutral or acidic state. This also “brightens” the wood and enhances the wood grain. Once the wood brightener has done its job it can be rinsed off and your prep work is complete.
This two step cleaning and deck brightening process is the same one used by professional deck cleaners and can give you similar results. It enhances the beauty of your wood deck and ensures you get maximum protection and lasting results from your deck stain.
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